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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, May 26

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Andrew / June 1, 2005 11:28 AM

I suppose it's a done deal at this point, but it's an interesting question: Should a body that's been buried for 50 years be exhumed so an autopsy can be performed? What can be done with any new information gained?

e_five / June 1, 2005 11:28 AM

Apparently, it doesn't matter what we think or even what his family thinks. I believe most of them have come out against it.

Michael / June 1, 2005 11:53 AM

I'm always skeptical in matters such as these. It reeks of a political stunt more than anything else.

eep / June 1, 2005 12:41 PM

If the family says no, then no. It's their choice, though it obviously doesn't matter.

Tommy #1 / June 1, 2005 2:43 PM

From what I've read, the family (what distant relations there are) did want this and had pressed for it. It was Jesse Jackson and other black leaders who are against it. As for it reeking of a political stunt, who has what to gain by this. What is going to happen if it turns out that it's not Till in the grave..... one side will claim it's proof that Till wasn't killed and the will scream the body was changed.

I personally could careless about this. I'm hoping what family is left gets some closure. The remaining is just a circus.

amyc / June 1, 2005 3:12 PM

Tommy, why would Till's body not be in the grave?

I don't get the reason for exhuming the body. The injustice is not that we don't know how he died (we do) or who did it (we do) but that the culprits didn't do any time. Digging up the body won't change that.

Mister C / June 1, 2005 6:38 PM

The main rationale behind the exhumation and autopsy is to see if they can find any evidence that would implicate anyone else who might have been involved. There have apparently been rumours that as many as 15 others were involved (wouldn't be surprising,as many old lyching photos can attest, this sort of atrocity was usually a big social occasion) and this has been the driving force behind recent investigations. Most of the family is behind it (they had a brief ceremony at the cemetery when the casket vault was exhumed today), but others are vocal in their opposition.

I can see how one could be suspicious of the recent Till investigation (and other Civil Rights era case "reopenings") as just a PR gimmick to cover the FBI's failings and draw attention away from other issues (and/or to mollify black agents who might be uneasy with past Hoover-Era obstructionism), but I like the idea that the bastards who committed those heinous crimes (at least the ones still alive) know they might still hear a knock on their door (even if it is 50 years too late).

Tommy #1 / June 3, 2005 6:59 AM

One argument from the persons accused involved Till not being killed but actually hiding at the time. This came from the fact that a confirmed id wasn't possible, the body was too decomposed.

elena / June 7, 2005 10:12 AM

I'm surprised that so many people are against the exhumation. I want to know who killed Emmett Till -- not just some of the people, but all of them. The two men accused of his murder were acquitted and later gave a description of how they murdered him. But their story did not account for all of the actual wounds on the body or its disposal. And surely they weren't the only two people involved. It won't get easier to find out the truth, either. Too much time has already passed. Maybe some of the people who helped murder that young men will at least be exposed and there will be little more truth in the history books. Where else do we get history the history we need, after all, if not from prying into stories that many people would just prefer to forget about?

SHAWNTELL / June 22, 2005 2:47 AM

I think the body of Emmett Till should not be exhumed. The individuals that were responsible for his death have been to trial and have been found not guilty. There will be no justice found in disturbing the grave of Emmett. His remains should be allowed to rest in peace until the day of judgement. To remove Emmett's remains againt his family's wishes is a sure way to revictimize the family. Do not disturb this families closure.

Sherry / June 22, 2005 10:56 AM

His family never had closure because they did not receive an autopsy or truely identify the body. The uncle only recognized the body by a ring on the finger. I think the family should at least know the 100% truth in the death of their child. They did not get justice but the truth is all they have to make it right.

kyla / June 22, 2005 12:34 PM

Is anybody out there forgetting the fact that this was a fourteen year old child.No one and I mean no one was ever given the right to take this childs life over whisteling at a white women. Maybe it's just me but I remember learning all about the south and their hate for my people of color. I think every black person/person involved or interested in this story are hoping for this poor boys murder to be told. He can't speak and tell of his horror so let the autopsy be his words.And to whoever has harmed one of God's angels your day is sure to come, and I pray for you.

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